Sandra is a medical herbalist, medical anthropologist, and columnist for the NZ Herald.

Your health: Natural remedies for weight loss

The addition of medicinal plants will assist with reduced cravings and keeping blood sugar levels balanced while still providing a feeling of fullness. Photo / Getty
The addition of medicinal plants will assist with reduced cravings and keeping blood sugar levels balanced while still providing a feeling of fullness. Photo / Getty

I'm trying to lose weight for my wedding in February. I'm on a nutrition plan and I'm exercising regularly, but was wondering if there were any plants or herbs I should be including in my daily wellbeing regime? I'm not looking for a quick fix, just a bit of a boost! Heidi, Porirua

Hi Heidi, congratulations on your wedding! I hope the planning is going well.

There are definitely medicinal plants that you can add in to your daily routine that may help you with your goal.

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) has been used to help with reducing hunger and curbing appetite. The beauty of this plant is that it helps to regulate blood sugar levels and insulin, stopping that incessant need to snack which can sabotage weight loss goals.

Yerba mate also helps with the satiety or fullness you feel which also reduces the need to snack while assisting with fat breakdown, which may contribute to weight loss. The plant naturally contains caffeine which may help to boost the metabolism while boosting energy levels.

Olive leaf (Olea europaea) is mostly known for immune support but it can also help to support the body during weight loss. This is due to its blood sugar balancing effects, and the active component oleuropein, which helps to reduce carbohydrate absorption in the gut. Olive leaf also helps to lower lipids in the blood stream.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is a wonderful plant that has a special affinity for blood sugar balance. This is great for helping to reduce cravings for sugar and refined-carbohydrates, and helps to lower blood glucose levels and triglycerides. Cinnamon also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is often associated with the liver, but is also helpful for weight loss due to its ability to help with water retention and digestion, which can be an issue for some people. Dandelion root is a source of fibre that can help increase the feeling of fullness while lowering blood sugar levels.

The addition of these medicinal plants will assist with reduced cravings and keeping blood sugar levels balanced while still providing a feeling of fullness. They can also help to improve digestive function and provide an anti-inflammatory action that will benefit your cardiovascular system. My suggestion would be to take this combined plant remedy up to three times a day at your snack times to help maintain your healthy eating plan.

It is important to not go overboard with weight loss, and remember that small changes can provide big results. If you need individual assistance, a medical herbalist or your lead medical provider will be able to help you.

- NZ Herald

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Sandra is a medical herbalist, medical anthropologist, and columnist for the NZ Herald.

Sandra Clair is the founder of Artemis (artemis.co.nz) offering New Zealanders a premium range of traditional plant medicine products. She is one of New Zealand’s most highly qualified health professionals in her field, as a Swiss trained medical herbalist and a medical anthropologist (M.A.). Sandra is currently completing a PhD in health science at the University of Canterbury in collaboration with the Chair for Natural Medicine of the University of Zürich, Switzerland.

Read more by Sandra Clair

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